Spend any extended amount of time with a person and there’s bound to be periods of great excitement as well as general complacency… even boredom. It’s human nature to place effort and attention towards attracting and obtaining a partner and then direct that energy towards other pursuits or interests after the relationship has been established. In the long run though, this can hurt a relationship, causing one or both partners to feel taken for granted or uninterested in the other. This is particularly true for career-minded couples, parents of small children, couples that have been together for many years or couples where one or both partners travel a lot for business. The simple convention of Date Night can actually go a long way towards resolving or avoiding relationship issues… IF you go about it the right way.
The First Rule of Date Night – Don’t Talk About Anything Else But Date Night. We don’t mean confine your conversation to the menu at the restaurant or the actors in the movie you’re watching… but leave the chatter about your daily grind at home where it belongs. If you’re spending all your time caring for your kids, take date night as an opportunity to reconnect with the non-parental sides of yourselves. If you’ve been slaving at the office, talk about a vacation you’d like to take in the future or an interesting book you’ve either read or hope to read.
Size Doesn’t Matter. In this economy, it’s very easy to skip date night because of the cost of a sitter, dinner, and movie tickets. But if you think outside the box, you can eliminate cost as an issue. Consider a lunch date on a workday while the kids are at school. Pack a picnic for a Saturday afternoon. Become each other’s workout partners. Just take a leisurely drive through the country. Even a nice walk around the neighborhood can be nice. The key is to minimize distractions or stressors from everyday life.
Share and Share Some More. Other than the limits described above, be as open with your partner as possible. Worried about a promotion at the office? Say so. Feeling drained by family life? Engage your partner in brainstorming about more fun things the family can do together. Opening up about your successes, failures, concerns and confidences not only builds trust, it gives you new topics to talk about which only strengthens your bond.